Joe Billalba

Posted on Oct 25, 2016

Age:  70’s   Diagnosis:  Cancer

In February of 1967 Joe was in Vietnam for an 11 month deployment.  That year he learned the importance of blood donation and started donating to help his fellow soldiers.  He returned to the states and continued his work in the military, working at the National Guard, where he stayed for 35 years until he retired.  He was still donating regularly.  In 1992, Joe’s daughters were involved in a head on collision.  Both were badly hurt and one was in a coma for awhile.  When his National Guard coworkers found out almost 70 of them came in to give and to showed their support for Joe and his family.  (A lot were first time donors.)  Joe’s wife, Snookie, who was also a blood donor, made a lifelong commitment during this period to continue donating.  As a couple, over the many years they have donated together often but both have given very regularly to help others as they have been helped.  Joe, unfortunately, is not able to donate at the moment due to health issues.  And, blood donation has come full circle for Joe, personally as he was now, recently a recipient of blood.  After some serious medical treatments for cancer, Joe had little strength and did not feel that well, so his doctors sent him to Saint Agnes for two pints of blood.  He said it made all the difference.  He was feeling so badly that within minutes of the transfusions he felt a hundred percent better.  The color came back to face, he could feel the energy back in his body and felt like a new man.  Joe is so grateful to have donated all those years for others and is even more grateful for those who are giving back to him now and those who had also done so for his daughters.     

From:  Clovis, CA